Saturday, 24 September 2016

Things I Do Because I'm Socially Awkward: Home Edition

I recently wrote a post about how stressful I find going to the supermarket and the odd stuff I do when I’m there.   If you’re particularly bored, you can find it HERE.

After my mobile phone started to vibrate on my office desk this morning and I didn’t answer it, obviously; I realised that my anxiety really does creep into every aspect of my life.      In general, I do many, many odd things (well, not odd to me, but odd to other people) and still manage to get through my days largely unscathed.  Most of the time.
These are the things I do at home:

Don’t Answer The Door:
Now, I live on the outer reaches of a very rural village in Cardigan Bay in North Wales and, well, there are no cold callers here.  This makes me extremely happy.    When I lived back in residential areas in Scotland, I got them all the time and very rarely ever answered my front door.    I’m no more willing to answer it now, just in case it’s the guy from the Farmer’s Union coming round to grill me about where I buy my sausages and whether or not they’re local (they are).   I am not the kind of person who enjoys answering the door and finding people standing on the other side of it; waiting expectantly for me to be interested in whatever they’re selling.

Because of this, and the years spent actually opening the door when the bell went and then feeling compelled to sign up for something I neither wanted or needed, just so I wouldn’t offend anyone, I know that answering will only lead to more stress for me in the long run.    You have no idea of the charities I’ve signed up for that I still don’t really know the premise of.   

So, point of warning;  if you are selling anything, bringing me news of schools you’ve built in underdeveloped nations and/or bringing me the word of The Lord:  don’t bother.   I simply will not answer.      Bring along your cute dog, and I might well change my mind.     Actually, please don’t do that as it’s nothing short of emotional blackmail.

Don’t Answer The Phone:
In a similar vein that that of not answering the door, I also don’t answer the home phone.   This generally leads to the person ringing it (usually my sister) to send me a text message telling me to pick up.    The same has happened on a few occasions when Les has tried to call home to say he’d be late.    

As far as I’m concerned, if you need to get me, you can use text/Whatsapp/Snapchat/Fb messenger or a whole host of other methods of communication (I’m a fan of smoke signals) and I will almost definitely respond to you.     I might take a while, depending on how I’m feeling, but I will get there eventually.

I have, rather amusingly, taken to checking out missed calls on my mobile from random 0161 numbers or similar; waiting for them to ring off and then casually Googling the number to see who it was.   Clearly, I’d have found out who it was if I’d just answered in the first place, but this is a tiny step too far for me.    

I don’t much give out my number and certainly don’t encourage phone chats, so when I don’t recognise a number, I see no reason to pick up.    9 times out of 10, I am rewarded by comments on Who Called website which recount tales of annoying call centres asking about PPI or recorded messages saying you’re due compensation from a recently delayed flight.    I care not about any of this, so calling me is a complete waste of time. 

Put My Head Down When I Leave:
I met a very good friend of mine when I lived in Mid Calder in Scotland.  The lady in question happened to live next door to me with her hubby and three little girls.    

Now, I didn’t actually get involved in the friending process with my neighbour for a good few years until my ex husband got us together after realising we both went running.  He suggested we go out together and the rest is history.  

Before I became running partners and then friends with Gaynor, I lived in the house next door to her for YEARS.   I knew her name because we sometimes got mail and because my husband was quite a friendly type and often said hello to her and her family in passing.    I didn’t speak to anyone.    

Now, you might think this is truly anti social, and indeed it is, but it’s also quite a feat.   I lived in small cul de sac of 8 houses and successfully managed to avoid every single person that lived there.  

Anyway, despite the unrivalled success of my new friendship, I haven’t changed my ways in the years since.  I still dart between my car and my house, hurriedly fishing about in my bags for the keys and desperately try to unlock the back door before turning round and slamming it shut with my back against it; dripping sweat and thanking God that I made it home without seeing any people.    OK, so this is a touch dramatic, and I don’t move that quickly, but the general idea is the same.

Now, because of where I live and the fact that I don’t really have neighbours in the sense that we’re all in a residential street, this has ceased to be much of a problem.  

However, because the house closest to me is occupied by a former colleague and because small town Wales is full of friendly, chatty people, I have turned to worrying about my neighbour being out in her garden when I drive past and feeling like a complete bugger if I don’t stop.     It’s not that I don’t like her, because she’s fantastic.   It’s just that I don’t want to speak to her on my way home from work.  I don’t even want to speak to Idris Elba on my way home from work.  And I sincerely mean that.    

No Chatting:
I am aware of the names of some of the residents that live in and around where our cottage is, despite never having actually conversed with them.   I’m also aware that the know about Les and what he does for a living.   I can only assume they know very little about me and that’s the way I very much intend to keep it.

In 7 months, taking my former colleague out of the equation, I haven’t spoken to a single other person in my area.  I have waved several times to the farmer along the road when he trundles past my garden gate en route to collecting his rather mischievous livestock.   

I have also had to issue an apology to a rather startled work man who was installing windows at a local property and had left the front door open.    Jake, my little staffie, decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to see if the new person was interested in scratching his butt.    And, much to Jake’s complete delight, the new person was.    

Aside from this dog-joiner interaction, I have managed to avoid all human contact.  I am pleased to report that I have had numerous conversations with the local cows, sheep, the rabbit who lives in my garden, and the squirrel who keeps jumping on to the bird feeder and helping himself to all the food. They haven’t been speaking back to me, you understand, but this just makes me like them even more.

Take Time Out:
I have no kids and no animals, and pretty much have the freedom to do whatever I want when I want.   Well, if you discount the fact that I’m anxious about everything and that kind of restricts me.  Apart from that, I have complete control.    I live with my partner and his job means that he’s often on call or working late and he also leaves very early in the morning.   This means, despite living together, I spent a fair bit of time on my own at home.

You’d think this would mean that the time we DO spend together, say at the weekend, would be fine.    Unfortunately, I don’t operate like that.  Not seeing les for a whole day and feeling anxious or depressed in the evening means that I’d much rather be on my own.  Instead of being vocal about this, I find other ways to take time out.    This is no reflection on him and he’s one of the only people I can be with for ANY length of time without wanting to weep copiously and bury myself under the duvet to escape.   

I will often sneak off and do some blogging in my office upstairs, or work out on the bike in the spare room in order to have a little half hour to myself before re-engaging with the world.   He is fully aware of this and also operates in the same way after a hard days’ people-ing.    

When I need a time out from myself, which is more often than you’d expect, I go to bed with an audio book and my little knitted Welsh dragon (true story) and drift into some horrendous Nordic crime drama filled with dismembered bodies and dodgy old deserted warehouses.   Honestly, you’d be surprised how much it takes your mind off things.
And on that note, I’m off to research black out blinds for my entire house and, possibly, also my car.
Suz x